I have enjoyed every minute of Gillian Thomas Wed night pilates class. Very professional and very happy to put my body in her hands every week! Thanks.



Having returned from my annual Christmas cruise, I stepped onto the scales as I always did. I’d put on a few pounds but had gone over 14 stone.  I wasn’t initially too concerned as I knew that once I was back in my routine I’d shift those few pounds. However, towards the end of January I decided that I wanted to lose weight. A familiar story….you might say. New Year resolutions that you never stick to! This time was different and I felt more determined and ready for the challenge.  I made the decision to try a personal training session. I knew Taira from Pilates so I approached her and asked if she would be able to book me in for a session. Little did I know from that moment how much that decision would impact on my life for the next 6 months.

I was extremely nervous at the first session as I did not know what to expect.  The session started with a warm up and continued with a series of different exercises-using weights and some cardio. It was tough! Taira told me that I’d probably be aching in the morning and for the next few days. OMG….WELCOME TO DOMS! I could hardly walk the day after…every muscle ached. Trying to teach PE was a challenge – I couldn’t even bend down to pick up equipment! I knew it would be like this for a few sessions until my body adjusted to the shock of exercising so intensely. At the next session Taira weighed and measured me. I’d already decided that my target weight loss was 3 stone by December. So we came up with a healthy eating and fitness programme that would fit into both our busy work schedules.

The first thing she asked me to do was to keep a food diary. The following week training was still hard but I didn’t feel as achy over the next few days. We looked at my food diary a week later and although I wasn’t surprised I was shocked at the volume and calorie intake. We looked at some changes that I could make quite quickly and easily.  Training continued on a weekly basis for about 6-8 weeks and at first there was very little weight loss, but on the positive side my recovery between sessions was getting better and I began to push myself a lot more.

We then moved training to Saturday morning before my Pilates class and as I became more committed to the sessions we looked at adding in another one. Taira quickly realised that she could push me harder and gradually the intensity of the sessions increased. Yes I did moan and complain…..but to no avail! Every Saturday we had a weigh-in and although it was slow at first the scales were going down. I achieved my first one stone weight loss by May. People began to notice and that gave me more determination to push on. I was hooked and I looked forward to each training session as they were never the same.

I had a bit of a setback for about 4-6 weeks due to tendonitis in my Achilles and whilst it slowed me down, it did not deter me. Taira adapted the sessions accordingly and we carried on. Weight loss during this period was steady so we added in an outdoor session- just for a bit more of a challenge! Taira was really pushing me hard now as she could see that no matter what she threw at me, I was determined and motivated towards my goal. The second stone seemed to be coming off much quicker, probably because I’d got into a routine with my eating habits and exercise regime. Even going on holiday did not deter me as I did a lot of walking and kept an eye on my food…..despite the occasional treat!

After my holiday in June, it became noticeable that my weight loss had slowed down slightly. Taira set me another target of being under 12 stone by the end of June. This meant a 5lb weight loss in 3 weeks. This was the first time that I’d began to doubt myself, but throughout this journey I have had an incredibly supportive network of friends who kept me going. My Saturday morning Pilates class were amazing and there for me every week. They were so pleased for me after every weight loss…I owe them a lot. Thanks guys.

As I stepped onto the scales on 8th July I was incredibly nervous….had I done enough? 11stone 13lb!  I was so happy; all the hard work had paid off. Under 12 stone for the first time in a long time. I even bought a new pair of jeans….size 14. Don’t think I’d been that size since I was 14 back in the day!

My weight has reached a plateau over the last few weeks and although I’ve not lost weight nor have I put on. When I return from my holiday Taira and I will sit down and plan the next part of the journey towards my goal. It’s been a truly enlightening experience since that first daunting session in January but I’ve been very lucky to have had such a brilliant trainer and a supportive group of friends….even my mum’s noticed! Don’t get me wrong….it’s not been all plain sailing, particularly when I was injured.  For me it’s probably been one of the toughest things I’ve ever done but I’m in for the long haul now.

Taira has pushed me hard over the last 7 months and as my fitness improved, she not only upped the intensity of the exercises but introduced different and more challenging ones. She was always available to talk to if I needed a push, but she never judged, instead providing positive feedback and encouragement. I know that the next few months are going to be just as challenging as we work towards my goal. I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has followed my journey. And to you Taira….you are an absolute star! Thank you.


Sue Ward

I’ve been attending a variety of Pilates classes over a number of years and have benefitted enormously from this. I have a back issue and as all classes are tailored to your needs. You are monitored and helped along the way, without feeling inadequate. There is no “ keeping up with your neighbour” pressure. All in all it makes for an enjoyable hour that’s going you the world of good both mentally and physically. We also have a laugh too. Can’t be bad. Good value for money too!

Jean Walton

I’m a regular Monday mixed ability sort of a girl. Gillian leads the class and it is superb! Gillian is so experienced in knowledge and takes a serious interest in you abilities and capabilities. The classrooms are wonderful and extremely suitable for the members. I have had lessons with all the teachers…Becky and Tiara. They are all so different, but everyone of them are seriously well trained.
It’s a real fun experience. Gillian has a wicked sense of humour and uses it each sessions
I now can stretch my hamstrings !!!!

Kelly M

I attended Gill’s classes with a friend, having lived the most difficult year of my life due to my husband being ran over whilst crossing a pelican crossing our lives completely changed. I found Gill to be a lovely bubbly character who made us laugh whilst professional and being fortunate that I don’t suffer any physical injuries Gills classes had me leaving feeling worked yet relaxed and totally de stressed.

Kelly M

Lyn Brady

I’ ve been attending one of Gill s Pilates classes for some time now. She is the best teacher I’ve ever had. She s very professional and caring but good for a laugh at the same time. I always come out of her class feeling better than when I went in!!

Lyn Brady

Tina C

Gill is a brilliant teacher. She is dedicated and has a brilliant sense of humour. Gill will encourage you but not push you into positions that are too strenuous or painful. Gill is the best Pilates/Yoga teacher I have come across.

Tina C

Sue Ward

Really enjoy the classes with Gillian & Becky. No pressure & a relaxed helpful atmosphere. Give it a go .

Wendy Leach

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your Pilates classes. Since the class started my golf swing has definitely improved. Which means my golf has improved (hooray). I am a keen runner and cyclist and was prone to having problems with my knees. This has also improved. My knees no longer just give way when I am walking.  My posture is also much better. Lastly, but not least, the commaraderie within the class is brilliant. 


Regards Wendy xx

Sally Courtney

I suffer sporadic back pain due to a severe back injury incurred many years ago which eventually put an end to my dance career. So a change of career was undertaken and after stating I would never sit behind a desk, I have recently retired from sitting behind a desk as a Civil Servant. During those none dancing years I continued to keep fit but that slowly fell by the way side when a busy job and home life took over and then diagnosed with Crohn’s disease had to have quite a horrible abdominal operation. Now retired and wanting to keep fit but taking into account my very sensitive back and stomach I already knew Pilates was for me having done regular Pilates during my dance career. So now I had to find a really good Pilates teacher with years of experience under their belt, excellent references and hopefully not too far to travel to. After much research, I found one , Gillian. I got in touch and went to a few of her classes and found she really knew her stuff, shes very experienced with an excellent teaching style, serious and funny, yet very aware of everyone’s individuals problems in her classes. I’m now a devotee and regular of Gills classes .
I highly recommended gills Pilates classes no matter what age or size you are.

Sally Courtney

Heather F

Gill! She is professional, friendly and a considerate pilates instructor who tailors her classes to suit all abilities

Heather F

Antoinette Edge

I’ve attended Gill’s Pilates classes over the past year. As I have had some health problems I felt confident with Gill’s knowledge and experience, along with her ability to treat people as individuals

Tina Dobell

Fabulous classes. It doesn’t matter what you age, size, ability or gender it is all customised to the individual. Can’t recommend them enough x😃😃

Dear Gill/Becky

Just had to say thanks  as my back problems seem so much better since I started classes. I have had back problems since my early teens but last year it was so bad I had difficulty walking and was on a cocktail of strong painkillers for months. I went for scans and stuff and was told that painkillers were all that could be offered and was advised to try Pilates.

I had never done anything like this before and was a bit unsure of what to expect but it was great. Everyone was so friendly and I felt at ease from the start. You are not pushed beyond your own limits but encouraged to give it a try, everything is under your own control.

After the first couple of weeks I was not taking as many painkillers and while the pain has not gone away it is far more bearable, some days are worse than others but I find that rather than skipping a class it is better to go and try to work through it if you can, I find that it usually feels so much better than just lying in bed.

I have never been one for going to the gym or any exercise for that matter so it surprised me how much I actually enjoy going to class, the instructors are serious in the work but all have such a good sense of humour that there is a lot of laughter too.

Once again thanks

Kim Dunphy


Rochdale Pilates is just Fabulous, however when you attend expect humour, fun, straight talking, but all the tutors care for you as a individual, with a great deal of respect and compasion


Gill has personal trained me now for over 18 months and I have to say I have never done the same session twice which definitely keeps you interested.Her pilates classes are fantastic too. Gill is extremely knowledgeable, professional and is easy to get along with- the longest i have stuck at any exercise , thanks Gill!

Angela Emery

Fab classes and humour goes alongside the fun workout- I would highly recommend Gillian as an instructor xx

Andy Dell

Rochdale Pilates has without doubt improved my overall ability to stay fit and enhance my quality of life. Since joining the group in January 2015 with a 20 year recurring back problem I have noticed a massive reduction with back related problems and my everyday job as an engineer has improved immeasurably. Many thanks Gill!


I hope this is ok for you, it’s all true.


Many thanks,


Andrew Dell

Michelle Barker

In November 2011 I reached around on a chair to pick up my heavy laptop bag from the floor, my whole right side went numb and I knew I had done some damage.
At 24 this was something which I was totally unprepared for, young fit and healthy I started to feel like I could not function as normal and needed to have it investigated.
My mum insisted on an MRI scan and it was discovered that I had degenerative disc disease in my L5/S1 (lumbar) spine, with foraminal stenosis at this level. In layman’s terms this means I have a worn lower disc of someone twice my age which causes slight compression in my spinal cord causing weakness, numbness and pain. This was a massive shock and Christmas 2011 was a tough time for me, I suffered with a low mood and everyday was a struggle as people don’t expect a ‘young’ person to have back problems and I was often asked to lift this or hold that door.

I decided I would not be slowed down at 24 and started some home Pilates, I started stretching every day and very slowly was able to reduce the ridiculously strong pain killers I was given.

Then in early 2012 I saw an advert for Pilates for back pain classes by Gillian and I have never looked back since. The one a week class has improved my flexibility and strength. I feel more confident being active and both my body and spirit look forward to the weekly class.
Gill is a warm friendly person who uses humour and personal experience to lead you through her classes. She takes the time to listen and understand your condition and tailors exercises just for you; she also monitors your progress giving you feedback and encouragement. I still can’t touch my toes but Gill ensures me not everyone can!
I don’t take any painkillers now for my back and feel so much happier and confident in my own body. Please don’t suffer with a bad back and feel drugged up on pain killers, come and see Gill and she will change your life.


Michelle Barker

Sandra Walker

I have been going to Gill for pilates for some time now and feel all the better for it. She has a great teaching style and is well knowledgeable in both specific injuries and health problems. Thank you Gill

Angela Adamson

Rochdale Pilates have made such a difference to me. Becky Cooper you have brought life back to my weary body and I am eternally grateful. I will never stop doing pilates as the benefits are life changing. Thank you so much Becky and team. Friendly, inviting and comfortable surroundings.

Nic Ashworth

In April 2010 I started a long round of tests and scans to find out why walking had become a challenge. I was unable to walk through a door without colliding with the door jam, staggering as though I had hit the vodka early and without warning falling over. My sense of balance was completely shot at. I had suffered from back pain for many years so that wasn’t anything new but this was.To say this knocked my confidence is an understatement as the fear of falling over in a public place is not a good one!

The diagnosis was 2 protruding (slipped) discs in my lower spine, one of which was compressing the sciatic nerve which explained the pain and the numbness. The result of the nerve being compressed had caused nerve damage and a condition called Drop foot which is exactly as it sounds! You are unable to naturally lift the foot as you walk plus the foot has a tendency to turn inwards.

After seeing a surgeon it was decided that an operation wasn’t the best option as the pain was manageable with daily painkillers and it wouldn’t cure the nerve damage.

Physiotherapy was arranged and after a while I noticed a small improvement. My Physio recommended Pilates as he didn’t think he could do anymore for me.

July 2011 I had a leaflet pushed through the door from Norden Community School and on a Tuesday night Gill Thomas was running a Pilates class. I sent Gill an e mail and got a very encouraging response back.

So September 2011 I joined Gill’s class. You fill in a form as you join so you can detail any problems you have. What was reassuring was when Gill read mine she could sum up my problem quickly and was very knowledgeable about back conditions.

Pilates isn’t a quick fix and needs commitment but what ever commitment you give then you will receive more back from Gill.

Gill is an excellent instructor who explains the movements and techniques so even a novice like me could grasp them. She is a hands on person who moves round the class giving individual attention and checking that you have the correct positioning. Her sense of humour makes the class fun too. Tuesday night’s classes quickly became something I looked forward to.

Progress was slow to start with but after Christmas I was improving in a very noticeable way. In April I started Gill’s advance class on a Wednesday night in addition to the Tues night. I impressed myself that I could do that!

So where am I now? Well I haven’t fallen over for 5 months, taking painkillers has been reduced to once in a while instead of daily, I can do so much more without any knock on effect, my balance has improved dramatically which has given me my confidence back and I can wear high heels again !! If I do have a wobbly day I now know how to contract my muscles to reset my balance.

Another plus point is my whole body has toned up and I have gone down at least one dress size woo hoo!

If you do suffer from a back problem then I can’t recommend Gill’s classes highly enough. Turn up, make the effort and she will help you make a big difference.



Nic Ashworth

Elaine D

Gill provides good advice, encouragement and a warm welcome at each class. She gets to know each class member and adapts exercises accordingly. Each week the work-out is different; you don’t get bored at Gill’s classes.

Elaine D

Jane O

Gill is passionate about what she does and genuinely cares about helping people who attend her classes. She is down to earth, incredibly funny and very knowledgeable. She also advises on nutrition and both myself and several of my friends have benefitted hugely from Gill’s help, losing weight and leading happier, healthier lives. Gill also charges very reasonable rates which means anyone can attend her classes. She is a proud, born and bred Rochdalian who does a lot for local people.

Jane O